Cross Stitch Pattern Color Swapping
A while ago I got it in my head to stitch some slightly more ‘obscure’ video game items as accessories. We see patterns all the time for 1ups and yoshi eggs, but we rarely see more obscure items like the Tales of Phantasia super nintendo controller or food from Maple Story.
Well, while these were all well and good they were far too large to make into earrings, and a bit bulky for keyfobs too. So I kept digging, and came across an item sheet on Spriters Resource for Final Fantasy Tactics A2 which included this adorable ribbon.
I quickly turned it into a pattern based on the original sprite’s colors. You can get the pdf for this pattern on my Patreon (for free). However, I then decided these colors were far too muted for what I had in mind, so I decided to do a bit of color changing. And finally we get to the whole point of this tutorial! 🙂
It’s not uncommon to want to tweak designs you find. Maybe you want to change a character’s hair color to match yours. Or you think a cross stitch design would go better with your style/decor if it was purple instead of pink. Maybe you just wish it was more pastel rather than bright and vibrant. Well I’m here to tell you that’s okay!
It isn’t even particularly difficult to do! With this example we’re changing the whole pattern, but this works just as well if you’re only changing a small element of the pattern too. The main thing is to determine which colors need to be swapped. In this case, we have three shades of red. More specifically, a dark red, a medium red, and a light peachy highlight.
Well I wanted this to be a much brighter red! So I looked through my stash of colors and picked out three reds that I thought went well together. A dark, a medium, and a light shade to match the original trio. When you do this it’s recommended to keep the same amount of contrast between the colors.
If you have a color card, this should be pretty easy as they’re arranged by color. You’ll want to look at actual thread to pick out colors though, as programs like PCStitch or WinStitch aren’t 100% accurate and your monitor can play tricks on you, too. So don’t be shy, start pulling out bobbins and putting them next to each other to compare.
I picked out 3 vibrant reds, and on a whim I also chose three purples. (well, purpl-y blues.) Now, These are the colors I picked as shown in PC stitch here, but you’ll see in the finished photos these can seem very different in person.
Now one of the most important steps – WRITE DOWN YOUR CHOICES. Especially if it’s a larger cross stitch pattern and you may not get to the part that has been changed until later on. But also so you can reference it in the future as needed to replace colors on another design.
And yes, it really is as simple as that. Want to make a yellow flower pink? Determine how many yellows need to be swapped, and pick out an equal number of pinks. Whether you’re changing the color entirely or just trying to brighten or darken a color. Heck, maybe you just don’t have all the colors your cross stitch pattern calls for. In which case you can swap out those you don’t have for whatever you have on hand!
Colors included with a pattern are mainly suggestions by the designer. What their vision of the pattern might have been. But it doesn’t have to be what you stitch! And 99% of designers are totally cool with you swapping things out to personalize or add flourish to a piece! If you’re really concerned, you can always ask.
And don’t leave it just to plain cotton color swaps. Get creative and swap them out with some metallic shades. Or use a variegated thread to simulate gradient instead.
As an example, I’ve picked out a whole rainbow of ribbon colors for you! Now get out there and customize some patterns!